98 LS400 Niggles - ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion


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98 LS400 Niggles

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Old 12-20-13, 06:49 AM   #1
Edr
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Default 98 LS400 Niggles

Newbie to the brand and the forum. Very much appreciate this forum. I've already corrected several things with forum info. My 98 Jade Silver metallic has 59k, a real cream puff. I performed the 90k service plus a few extras: all fluids exchanged, coolant hoses, timing belt kit, plugs, pads, etc.

There are a few inconveniences I can't track down yet that I can't locate on the forum:
1. Driver side door does not shut well although no alignment problem visible.
2. Both front seat belt retractors are slow and often need help.
3. Trunk lid is heavy to lift.
4. At highway speeds, the front end seems to wander. Had aligned and tracks straight. Could be cheap tires PO put on.
5. Brake pedal is loose and bounces when you lift. I don't see a linkage to tighten.
6. The trans cold shift is well documented on the forum but out of place for this car. I expect perfection in operation from Lexus

Any advice on these niggles appreciated. Love the car, I've always appreciated the 97 - 2000 body style, great interior, simple controls, nice steering, good visibility, light weight for its size, and plenty of thrust. I worked for an auto parts supplier to Toyo/Lexus in the 90's, the quality is a given. Thanks, Ed
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Old 12-20-13, 07:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
I've always appreciated the 97 - 2000 body style
the body style changed in 98

Quote:
1. Driver side door does not shut well although no alignment problem visible.
car was likely in an accident sometime in its life, find the best body shop in your city, any good one can make the door close like new

Quote:
2. Both front seat belt retractors are slow and often need help.
if you whine enough, dealership may fix this, as it is a safety issue and those are often covered by unpublicized TSB/campaigns, if it has been a trend, but I have not heard much about this being a problem, so you may be stuck buying new retractors

Quote:
3. Trunk lid is heavy to lift.
you likely need new assist spring/shocks (whatever they are correctly called)

Quote:
4. At highway speeds, the front end seems to wander. Had aligned and tracks straight. Could be cheap tires PO put on.
could be cheap tires, various suspension members/bushings/ball joints/control arms, and/or inner/outer tie rod ends

Quote:
5. Brake pedal is loose and bounces when you lift. I don't see a linkage to tighten.
there is an adjustment covered in the factory service manual, do you have it?

Quote:
6. The trans cold shift is well documented on the forum but out of place for this car. I expect perfection in operation from Lexus
has fluid and filter been changed using T-IV fluid? - are you certain that fluid is to the top of the hot mark when transmission is hot after a 1/2 hour of driving when checked on very level ground while running in Park? - a 98 should shift just fine when cold - ECU capacitors can also cause shift issues.

Last edited by LScowboyLS; 12-20-13 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 12-20-13, 08:46 AM   #3
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seat belts are covered through lexus corp..don't contact the dealership
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Old 12-20-13, 11:40 AM   #4
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I haven't checked the fluid level on the trans since I had it serviced. I did use the correct trans fluid from Toyota. Didn't do a flush, just the filter. I believe only 2 of 9 pints are exchanged. The trans has had the same slow or high rpm shift when cold before and after. I will check it. I looked for the trunk struts online but couldn't locate them. Thanks
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Old 12-20-13, 03:53 PM   #5
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the amount of fluid drained is dependent on how long the pan was off, but you likely got 3-4 quarts rather than 2

do not flush Aisin transmissions (or any other brand for that matter) unless you have service records that verify that the fluid changes have been done every 30,000 miles or so throughout the life of the car. - and NEVER let a "flushing machine" be used on your Lexus
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Old 12-20-13, 05:35 PM   #6
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The slow/high rpm shift when the engine/transmission is cold is completely normal and desirable to prevent damage on the 98-00 LS400 in cool/cold weather - it would have done the same thing when the car was new. Just be patient during the first few minutes of driving.

The driver doors seem to sag over time and, according to the Lexus dealer body shop here, the hinges are not adjustable. Body shops sometimes try to bend the hinges with force to attempt to get the door back into alignment but that may not work very well. I had the driver door hinges on my 2000 LS400 replaced a couple of years ago by the Lexus dealer body shop - pretty cheap ... maybe $200 - and the door is now perfectly aligned.

Worn front strut bar bushings may be causing your "wandering". The ones on the 95-00 are usually good for about 60,000 to 70,000 miles although age seems to effect them too. My 00 LS is at 174,000 miles and the ball joints and the rest of the front suspension parts are still in good shape and original.

The trunk lid "stay assemblies" are rather expensive - about $250 for the set from Sewell with a ClubLexus discount - register to get it: http://lexus.sewellparts.com/oem-cat...S400-1998.html

Last edited by Kansas; 12-20-13 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 12-20-13, 05:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by python View Post
seat belts are covered through lexus corp..don't contact the dealership
Lexus is really fixing things on cars this old?

The reason I ask is that I just bought my second LS to go with my 97. It's a one owner 96 with 78k miles that had its timing belt and some of the suspension bushings done.

The only really problem with the car is that neither front seat belt retracts. They're both totally limp -- like wet noodle limp. It's actually comical how un-seat belt like the seat belts are.

I have replacement retractors ready to install, but I'd much rather have Lexus take care of it.

Has anyone been successful going through Lexus for this? If so, how did you do it?

Cheers.
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Old 12-20-13, 06:59 PM   #8
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1 (800) 255-3987 Lexus Customer Service

You can call and ask about the seatbelts, although I highly doubt they would be covered. The only things generally covered under a TSB are warranty repairs that fall under the TSB. There are 3 types of recalls that cover things and those are safety, emission, and compliance recalls. Manufacturers also do customer satisfaction programs and those are more like an extended warranty on specific components.
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Old 12-20-13, 07:04 PM   #9
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my seatbelts suck too lol. can anyone verify delearships fixing this?
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Old 12-20-13, 07:17 PM   #10
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my seatbelts suck too lol. can anyone verify delearships fixing this?
Just call Lexus customer service and ask if it is true. If you want it to be a fast call DO NOT tell them that you actually have an issue. If you tell them they are federally mandated to document the vehicle concern. Just give them the VIN and ask the if there are any customer satisfaction programs or recalls on your car.
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Old 12-20-13, 08:09 PM   #11
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I am pretty certain that due to the fact that seatbelts are required by law, they HAVE to be fixed for free for the life of the car, by the dealership- any make, any model. (as long as they were not ruined by negligence)
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Old 12-20-13, 08:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by peterls View Post
I am pretty certain that due to the fact that seatbelts are required by law, they HAVE to be fixed for free for the life of the car, by the dealership- any make, any model. (as long as they were not ruined by negligence)
Check your warranty booklet. Seat belts are covered under the power train warranty for 72 months or 70,000 miles - whichever comes first - except if the car is both sold new and registered in Kansas where I live in which case the seat belts are covered for 10 years regardless of mileage.
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Old 12-20-13, 08:28 PM   #13
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Honda fixed the seatbelts on my 25 year old Honda Accord - they said it was the law, so they had to. (it has around 250,000 miles)
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Old 12-20-13, 08:39 PM   #14
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That may have been some kind of recall. There is no law that requires a manufacturer to cover the cost of new seatbelts outside of warranty.

Edit:
Honda according to some people around the web has a lifetime warranty on seatbelts.
I know Ford has a 5/60,000 warranty on seatbelts.
I found another thread that claims the Lexus seatbelt warranty is 72/70,000-- https://www.clublexus.com/forums/gx-...-warranty.html

Last edited by dc893; 12-20-13 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 12-21-13, 07:28 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by LScowboyLS View Post
Honda fixed the seatbelts on my 25 year old Honda Accord - they said it was the law, so they had to. (it has around 250,000 miles)
There is no legal requirement for an auto company to repair seat belts on cars sold in the U.S. beyond an original warranty period except in Kansas where I live where, as I stated before, it is 10 years regardless of mileage.

Honda provides a lifetime warranty on seatbelts with some limitations. See page 53 at the following link: http://techinfo.honda.com/rjanisis/p...303O00050A.pdf

Now if Honda had provided better built vehicles and better warranties on other components, my wife and would not have abandoned Honda after purchasing four new ones. The final straw was when Honda balked at replacing the rusted out gas filler tube on the last Accord. We paid for the repair ourselves and promptly dumped the car.
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